‘The Discourse of Defence’: ‘Dissident’ Irish Republicanism and the ‘Propaganda War’’

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In modern day Irish republicanism, “dissident” is a vague and imprecise term. It is utilised by the media and mainstream politicians to collectively label a broad range of groups and individuals who reject that participation in constitutional politics, in its current form, will achieve their ultimate goal of a United Ireland. This article investigates the discourse from the mainstream media and politicians surrounding dissident groups in order to explore the construction of the “dissident” profile. The piece then considers the composing and transporting of the political messages from two republican groups, Republican Sinn Fein (RSF), and the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM). This article undertakes a content analysis of the two group's newspapers (Saoirse and Sovereign Nation) over a time period of seven years and will question how “dissidents” attempt to defend and justify their position in relation to this mainstream media narrative, assessing how dissidents attempt a counter-narrative. The aim of such analysis is to discover more about how “dissidents” attempt to portray themselves and justify their position on the republican spectrum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-503
Number of pages20
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number3
Early online date15 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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